February 23, 2018 – House Bill 58, the Idaho Stop bill that was introduced in the Utah Legislature during the 2018 session, is set for a vote as early as Friday, February 23, 2018. The bill would allow cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs, and stop lights as stop signs. That is, cyclists can proceed cautiously through the intersection if it is safe to do so after yielding at stop signs, or stopping at stop lights.
The initial bill had some conflicts with a different section of Utah code which states that cyclists can go through a controlled signal if they wait at least 90 seconds and it is safe to proceed. https://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title41/Chapter6A/41-6a-S305.html The conflict arises since if HB 58 passed in its original form, there would be two sections of code governing the same issue.
As such, Rep. Carol Spackman-Moss has amended the bill to remove this conflict in the code. The new bill can be found here: https://le.utah.gov/~2018/bills/static/HB0058.html (See the amended version on the right side of the screen under 1st Substitute. The amended bill would leave in place the 90 second rule for motorcycles and mopeds, but change the code for bicycles.
Commentary and Call to Action:
Cycling Utah supports this bill for multiple reasons. In Idaho, crashes dropped after the 1982 law went into effect. The bill legitimizes typical cyclist behavior at stop signs and many stop lights. Additionally, at stop lights, for the most part, the bill moves code governing cyclists from one section of the code to another. The bill does not allow cyclists to blow through stop signs or stop lights.
A recent study on Policies for Pedaling from the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development of DePaul University suggests that Chicago should adopt the Idaho Stop:
I. Considering permitting “Idaho Stops” at four-way stop intersections, which would enable cyclists
to determine whether to stop or yield based on traffic conditions in order to maintain their momentum. The study shows that only about one cyclist in 25 presently complies with the law to come to a complete stop. A pilot program to allow Idaho Stops at certain traffic signal intersections when traffic volumes are relatively low may also be considered.
Locally, please see this informative video editorial by John James Monroe of Pedal Traffic:
What you can do:
Email or call your Utah House Representative as soon as possible. House members contact information can be found here: https://house.utah.gov/
If the bill passes the Utah House, then please contact your senator via phone call or email. Senate contact information can be found here: http://senate.utah.gov
Track bill progress here: https://le.utah.gov/~2018/bills/static/HB0058.html